How and when to water your garden and lawn

In drought conditions like we have been experiencing here in the Ottawa (and most of Ontario) area, it is important that you know how and when to water your garden and lawns if you feel you must do so.

  • water plants in your garden at ground level, at the base of the plants.  Don’t spray the leaves of plants.  The hot sun will burn the wet foliage. (see pictures below)
  • water early in the morning or just before sunset so the water does not evaporate as quickly as it leaves your hose.
  • water well less frequently.  A long soak every few days is much better than a quick daily spray.  This encourages deep roots for your plants (and lawns too)
  • don’t forget to water your trees too.  Let water drip from a hose at the base of the tree for an hour when no rainfall is received for 4 or 5 hot days.
  • remember, lawns will recover, but many plants and trees will not

Keep an eye on your poop

Although the title of this post is silly, it got your attention, so read on to learn what your bowel movements are trying to tell you.  In a previous post, I told you how when my sons were small and came to me complaining of a tummy ache, the first thing I would ask them was “have you had a good poop today?”  If they said no, I would cut up some apples, sprinkle them with cinnamon and serve up this healthy, nutritious, full of fiber snack with a large glass of water. This trick worked every time (except when one son actually had appendicitis, but that’s another story). More often than not, within an hour or two, they would have a good poop and would then feel much better…

Now that my sons are grown up and rarely tell me about their stomach (or other) ailments, I use the information for myself.  If you look at the chart below that categorizes poop with pictures, you will see shapes and consistency from one extreme (constipation) to the opposite (diarrhea) Stage three or four is ideal; your bowel movements should not cause pain, the poop should come out easily, without straining, and in the shape and firmness of a sausage (their words, not mine) or a snake. Regularity is the key, one of these bowel movements a day or every second day is normal.

If you do not fit into the “normal” category indicated in the chart, try increasing your daily intake of water by the glassful or from eating more fresh fruit and vegetables. Taking a pill or other forms of medication (laxatives) to soften your stools or increase their frequency is only a band-aid fix that can land you in more trouble by causing serious side effects and dependency on the medication. The same thing applies to diarrhea; medication should be a last resort, especially if you suspect the diarrhea is caused by something you have eaten or taken.

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Constipation can and does happen to anyone and everyone, young and old, but some people more readily than others. Too much sugar, too little water, too much fat, too much protein, and too little fiber all can cause problems or irregularity with your bowel movements. Medications, allergies and food sensitivities can also wreak havoc on your body, causing constipation or diarrhea. Constipation and diarrhea are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and a warning that you should change your habits. Of course, if either condition lasts longer than a day or too, you should see your doctor as it could be a sign of more serious problems.

 

If your children automatically look for a snack as soon as they come in the door, consider having cut up fresh fruit or vegetables readily available, with or without a dip. Fresh fruit and vegetables are loaded with fiber and contain a large amount of water, both great for keeping their bowel movements in the healthy zone. Another trick I used when my children were young was to add water to their juice cups. (half and half) They would probably tell you now that it tasted awful, but it worked.  Years later, I still encourage them to drink more water and eat more fiber to maintain their health.

Although I usually eat fairly well, I like everyone else, do like to indulge in things that are not so good for me.  It does not take long for my body to react to things like junk food, excess alcohol, and lack of exercise.  Adding fiber and water back into my diet works wonders in getting me back to the right category of the chart.

 

Please be sure to visit my other blogs:

Laugh out loud (LOL) with me at YOUR DAILY CHUCKLE

and

be inspired and motivated by famous words of wisdom at WoW

My gardening website can be viewed at www.gardens4u.ca

How to make your indoor orchids rebloom

If you have you purchased orchids with beautiful blooms, but the blooms are now gone, follow these easy steps to make them rebloom to their former glory.

Water:  The easiest way to kill your orchids, and most other houseplants, is to overwater them.  The best way to water orchids is to take the pot to a sink, pour approximately 1/2 cup of water into the pot and then let ALL of the water drain out.  Do this every 7 to 10 days, letting the soil dry out in between waterings.  Of course, this means your orchids should be in a pot that drains well.

Light:  Another important requirement of orchids is the amount of sunlight they receive.  Direct sunlight is too harsh and will burn them, but too little sunlight will prevent them from flowering well.  Orchids prefer sunlight (not directly) from a south-facing window in the winter months, and an east or northwest exposure in the summer months.

Temperature:   Preferred temperatures vary between types of orchids.  Read the labels on the ones you purchase to ensure optimal temperatures for your orchids. None of them like temperatures below 60 degrees F though and none like to be near cold air drafts.  If you do not know whether your orchid is a cool, warm or intermediate type, keeping it between 65 and 80 degrees F should work.

Food:  Keep in mind that the rest periods in between blooms allow for the plants to restore their energy levels.  After the blooms have faded and fallen off, wait until the stalk has completely turned brown before cutting it off at the point where it meets the plant.  Food is important though to keep your orchids blooming their best.  There are commercial products available for orchid food which contains a higher phosphate (the middle number) level than nitrogen (first number) and potash (third number) for optimal blooms.  Feed your orchids every second watering while in bloom, otherwise once a month.

Hopefully the tips above will help you keep your orchids looking great.  If you have put off buying them because you thought they were too difficult or fussy, give them a try.  They cannot be beat for their spectacular blooms!

pictures courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

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How Disposable Diapers can Help Your Plants

This video describes an amazing way to keep your existing plants hydrated and to germinate any new plants. Follow the simple video instructions to cut back watering of houseplants, container plantings or even plants in your garden…

Play Video

watch the video here and be amazed at how the gel in disposable diapers can help hydrate your plants.

Your houseplants benefit from repotting every few years as the nutrients in the soil get depleted.  I plan to repot my houseplants as soon as the weather here permits me to take the plants into my garage or out on the back deck to do so. If your houseplants do not need repotting, try adding some of the gel from the disposable diapers to the existing soil as demonstrated in the video.

The soil in your gardens should also be amended (nutrients added to it) every year or at least every second year.  Good soil is the number one requirement of a great and successful garden.  This spring I plan to add some of the gel found in disposable diapers as suggested in the video, especially in the hot and dry areas of my gardens.

In the meantime, I will buy some diapers!

#1 of 4 Healthy Resolutions for 2015: Drink more Water

Happy New Year!  Even though 2015 is still a few days away, I thought I would share the healthy resolutions I have made for the new year, one at a time…

The first resolution is to drink more water.  In a   previous post,  I talked about how important it is to drink a lot of water. I already drink lots of water and have noticed a difference, especially in my energy levels, lack of headaches and the condition of my skin.  However, I read recently that you should drink 1/2 an ounce of water for every pound of weight your scale tells you that you weigh.  (no cheating!)  To me, this means I should consume 65 ounces of water per day, which translates to eight 8 ounce glasses.  Just be sure to drink all of this water before six o’clock each evening, otherwise you will be up going to the bathroom through the night.  If this increase in water consumption seems like a lot to you and you are concerned that your bladder will not be able to keep up, please be assured that your body will adjust within a few days.

My youngest son urged me to purchase a water filtering jug to keep in our fridge.  He says it will help him drink more water too.  As he plays many sports, it is even more important that he consumes an adequate amount of water to keep his body healthy.  For me, having the water jug on the counter or in the fridge creates a great reminder to drink more water.

Water filters are great for removing unwanted chemicals from your drinking water.  Chemicals such as sulfur can alter the taste and smell of water, but the harmful effects of chlorine and other chemicals can cause serious health problems. If you do plan to drink more water in the new year, think about filtering the water you drink to achieve the greatest health benefits.  Filters come in many shapes and sizes; check out the link below for many varieties:

water filters

Increasing your daily intake of filtered water can help you in many ways.  Whether you want to lose weight in 2015, improve your overall health, or both, try filtering your drinking water and increasing the amount of water you consume.  Cheers!

Monster Mosquitoes

Is it my imagination, or are the mosquitoes larger and more ferocious with lots more of them this summer?  It seems they are out in full force all day long, whether the sun is shining or not!

Being a gardener, I am getting a little too up close and personal with these annoying insects.  Even when I remember to spray my body with an insect repellent it doesn’t take them long to find the spots I missed.  I am working on creating an all natural repellent as the commercial ones give me an instant headache and the sniffles; stay tuned for more information on that…

Those pesky mosquitoes are also thriving at our family cottage, again, all day long, not just at dusk or when overcast.  Trying to get any work done outdoors is brutal; we spend more time swatting than working.  We recently installed a bat house to see if attracting bats to our property will keep the mosquito population down.

Did you know that there are 64 species of mosquitoes in Ontario alone?  The species connected to the West Nile Virus breeds in urban areas and never flies far from its breeding grounds of stagnant, shallow water that is high in organic matter.  Let that be a warning to keep the water collectors in your yard clean.  Bird baths and kiddie pools should be drained and cleaned frequently.   Water filled planters, watering cans, and other items hanging around the yard should be emptied often, especially with all the rain we have had lately.  If you have an ornamental pond, be sure it includes a waterfall or fountain so the water is not stagnant, and add some fish to eat the mosquito larvae that may breed there.

If you Suffer from Low Energy and Brain Fog, you may be Dehydrated…

Did you know many common symptoms such as lethargy, low energy levels, brain fog, muscle weakness, light-headedness, muscle cramps, nausea, dry skin and lips, and even increased breathing and heart rate can be attributed to dehydration?

A whopping 75% of our body consists of water, which is present in our cells, between our cells in body tissue, and in our blood vessels.  When this percentage drops,  caused by more water leaving the body than coming in, we suffer the consequences.  By the time we actually feel thirsty, we are dehydrated.

Water loss happens routinely when we sweat during exercise or when we have a fever, when our bodies eliminate waste in the form of urine and bowel movements, and even when we breathe.

To replace this routine water loss from our bodies, we should drink six to eight glasses of water (depending on your body weight) daily.  Water is also present in large amounts in fruit and vegetables, so increasing your daily intake of these items will help as well.   Also be aware that alcohol, coffee and other caffeinated drinks are dehydrators, so add a glass of water to your daily requirements for each serving of these items you consume.  You can include herbal tea in your daily requirement of water, it is actually hydrating.

Drinking water does not have to be inconvenient or expensive; in fact up to 25% of bottled water comes from municipal sources and not from glaciers or springs as many people believe.   Simply turn on your tap, fill up a water bottle, and take it with you, whether  you are at your desk working, running errands in your busy life or relaxing at home.  I often add a tiny amount of unsweetened pomegranate or blueberry juice to my water bottle to spice up the flavor.

Lorieb is the mother of three sons, residing in Kanata, Ontario, Canada.  She is the proud owner of GARDENS4U, and spends most of her time designing, planting, and restoring gardens.  Her other hobbies include reading and writing.  Please check out her website at www.gardens4u.ca

Sunburned Lawns

Is your lawn golden brown and crispy, aka sunburned?  Don’t despair, look around, you are not alone.  The extreme heat and lack of rain this summer has created havoc on eastern Ontario’s usual lush green landscape.  My heart goes out to the farmers in the area whose crops are so severely affected.

In comparison, the condition of my lawn seems trivial…my front yard usually gets sunburned in late July/early August as it has a southern exposure getting full sun pretty well all day, but this year it is well beyond “dry”.  Please remember, grass is supposed to go dormant in these extreme conditions.   At this point there is nothing you can do to revitalize it as it will not respond to fertilier and water is not enough.  Fortunately, our nice green lawns will return with cooler weather and some rainy days.  When this happens, and your grass starts to turn green again, you can apply a fertilizer to strengthen the roots which will promote a faster recovery.

The one positive thing about the condition of our lawns is that it is easy to pick out the weeds!  If you have the energy in this heat, now would be a great time to remove those pesky weeds including the green “creeping” sort that edge the driveways.  Then when the cooler, wetter weather does arrive you can sprinkle some grass seed where those weeds were growing.